ANKARA, Turkey — Signaling a major change in its approach to collapsed talks aimed at reunifying Cyprus, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said the idea of a federation isn’t longer feasible and that some other approach must be broached.
Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy again faulted the “Greek-Cypriots’ mindset” for the failure of the talks, including in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana where Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci met, along with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
Anastasiades walked away when Akinci and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said they would never remove an army on the northern third of the island occupied since a 1974 invasion and over Turkish demands for the right to militarily intervene again.
Aksoy said Turkey believes “that it is time to try a new way” in achieving a peace deal but gave no clue what he wanted nor offered any other option besides the bi-zonal, bi-communal federation previously being discussed which would have offered political equality on both sides.
The European Court of Human Rights had said that the occupied territory should be considered a puppet state under the control of Turkey, with no other country in the world recognizing the self-declared government.
The legitimate government of Cyprus is a member of the European Union that Turkey wants to join although Turkey won’t recognize it and bars its ships and planes at the same time it’s been trying to get into the bloc since 2005.
If Turkey no longer supports a federal deal for Cyprus, it would be a major shift from long-established parameters that have steered negotiations over four decades of repeated failures that has made the island a graveyard for diplomats.
Those proposals envision the two zones separately administered by Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots unifying under a jointly run Federal structure in a kind of two-headed monster approach although Anastasiades had offered to let a Turk be President every other term, drawing ire from his opponents who said that was too big a concession.
Anastasiades and Akinci recently sat down to dinner but there’s no announced plans to resume the talks as the Cypriot President said he was willing to do, if Turkey withdrew its army and invasion demands.
(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)